By Walter Broeckx
I have recently seen a very interesting stat on the internet about the presence/absence of Ramsey for Arsenal and what it means statistically if he is playing – or not.
And the numbers are really amazing to be honest. I have been a big fan of Ramsey since he arrived and defended him through thick and thin all the years after his injury. All the years when he had to do that amazing fight back while being ridiculed by the brainless fans and some media hyped fan whose name I will not mention, and whose hand Ramsey refused to shake a while ago. The boy’s got class up and on the field and knows who is friends are and who aren’t.
The stats are Arsenal this season with and without Ramsey so far.
|With Ramsey||Without Ramsey|
|1.8||Average goals for||1.3|
|0.8||Average goals against||2|
Now that is some amazing set of numbers. Because at the beginning of the season I had more than one discussion on the internet with my friends of the supporters club in Belgium about Ramsey.
Ramsey was the player they wanted to be replaced because : “He was played out of position” and “Wenger should play a proper right field attacker, like The Ox”. This was shortly after the Community Shield, you know the absolute non-trophy. I then said that despite The Ox scoring a great goal and having a great match that Ramsey would be the better option there.
Okay I do admit I love Aaron a lot and admire him for his courage and the way he came back after his injury. But at the time mine was not the most popular position. But these numbers prove that I was on the right track about him.
Yes he is played out of position and his best position would probably be as a box to box midfielder. But with Ramsey on the field you have someone who covers the right wing but because of his wandering around the field to all sorts of positions he add something extra to the team.
When he moves away from the right wing he drags his left back with him and opens space for Bellerin to explore. It is not for nothing that Bellerin has so many goal chances created as a right back. And Ramsey just brings the extra option then to the rest of the team by offering himself as a reliable option to give the ball.
I think we could see the big difference in the match against Bayern Munich in fact. When Ramsey was on the field in the first match Bayern could not really be dangerous. He got lots of the ball but as the Arsenal players covered a lot of ground and made it difficult for the Bayern players to manoeuvre into some room we didn’t give much away. In the return match we missed his ability to pressurise opponents but even more to hold on to the ball and to bring others in to play.
But let us go back to the numbers. The difference in win percentage is absolutely phenomenal! With Ramsey on the field our winning chances are almost doubled! I know Özil gets the headlines now and so do Alexis and whoever from the two of Giroud or Theo who scores the goals. But maybe the silent force behind this team, just as Coquelin is such a player, might be Ramsey and what he brings to the team.
But it is not just in winning that he seems to be important. But it is also in scoring goal that he makes a difference. With him around we score many more than without him. Not that he scores so many for the moment but his contribution and runs create openings for team mates to put the ball in the net. With him around in their penalty box defenders of other teams have to be alert for him and thus he allows others to capitalise.
And if we look at the goals conceded we see a similar thing. With him we get fewer goals against us than without him. That will be down to the fact that he is not a player who loses the ball in dangerous situations a lot. No he has become rather very reliable on that front. But with Ramsey in the team you have a player who can defend from the top. Even if out of his right position, he will track back and defend when we lose the ball. Making it more difficult for the other team to start their own attacks.
I think Ramsey is key in breaking up such possible attacks from the start and he is strong in winning balls in dangerous positions for the opponents. So their attacks get killed even before they can reach the Arsenal half a lot of times.
And his engine that can run around for 90 minutes is of course a valuable asset for our team. A man with a great engine. Keeping him fit might be very, very important for us this season. Let us hope the medical department can do their job and get him ready for the next part of the season and keep him fit for as long as possible.
Ramsey is very important, the stats show it and my gut feeling tells it. And it is nice to see that my gut feeling is backed up by the numbers.
11 November 2000: John Lukic played against Derby C aged 39 years 336 days and became Arsenal’s oldest player of the post-war era.
11 November 2010: Szczesny signed a five year deal. He progressed to be the clear first choice keeper until early 2015 when a poor performance and disciplinary issues saw him replaced by David Ospina. In the summer of 2015 he went out on loan.